hickory tussock moth

Lophocampa caryae




swallowtail caterpillar is on the dill plant.


The first sunflower up:

garlic flowers:


snails everywhere this year:



Twice-Stabbed Ladybird Beetle. Chilocorus stigma, eats aphids!


who’s eating the bok choy?

I suspect mostly aphids, some green caterpillars, robins, deer, and slugs. 🙁
Oh yes, and the bunny.


There are always so many of them in August.




Summer cicada on the trash can lid. That’s a birch tree seed on its head. Click on the photo twice for a close up.


Dan’s squash is taking over the whole garden.

Why the angry bird is angry: this is her baby.

Japanese beetles on the raspberries.


wet swarm

They’re still deciding where to go, I guess.


They are on one of the new apple trees.



I left these in the sun on the porch. The next day they woke up and flew away.

late summer in the garden

– taken at the garden at Clay house:
Pregnant Praying mantis, Perfect tomato, Purple basil, and a deer family Prancing in the fields in the evening light.

muddy mud flats

Bike ride at Alviso mudflats again. It’s muddy in spots after the rains. Lots of bugs, birds.. Anhinga, egrets, herons, ducks, seagulls, little water birds. Lots to see there. Photos taken with the little Panasonic Lumix.


july third

Hot weather walk at Beaver Lake. Afterwards we picked strawberries, at nearly the end of season..

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Birthday party for Dan, in absentia. By chance, we made a red, white, and blue cake; fitting for tomorrow’s holiday too.

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These photos are from my walk up the hill with the macro lens on the camera.. Saw Turkey tail fungi (brown striped), witches’ butter (orange-yellow), lichen, coyote scat, and some weird black mushroom. And later Aaron found a yellow moth sitting on our window, waiting to be photographed. There are lots of moths out today for some reason, maybe because it is the first warm day after a lot of rain.

It’s warmer today; maybe high 50’s F. There is a noticeable sweet smell in the air, like spring flowers. At the same time, in NY is getting a brutal cold front.

I’m going to look up this weird black mushroom. I’ve not seen anything like it. Let me know if you recognize it. Maybe Helvella lacunosa – Black elfin saddle ? – (That’s edible when cooked, but I’m not going to try it..)

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Treman State Park


Here are photos from a day trip up and down the trails at Treman State Park.
First photo is of a mother and baby turkeys that I chased a bit.
At the park there were lots of millipedes. Millipedes have 2 pairs of legs per segment (after the first couple segments), unlike centipedes, which only have one pair of legs per segment. Wikipedia says common millipedes have between 36 and 400 legs. Maybe they don’t belong in the metric system.
I was playing around with shutter speed on the waterfall photos. Some are taken at high speeds (up to 1/8000 sec) and some at slow speeds (1/8 sec or so).

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insect invasion

Chicago insect celebration in Millennium Park:

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The people look like ants in this time-lapse video of the “Bean” statue in the park:

HD Time Lapse of the Chicago “Bean” at Millennium Park from AlanSmithee on Vimeo.

Baylands Nature Center

100703_7758 After a little jazz show at Stanford, we made a trip to the Lucy Evans Baylands Nature Center in Palo Alto. This is probably one of the best places for bird watching around, especially coastal birds.

The nature center is built on stilts in the wetlands, and under its eaves are many cliff swallow nests. The deck is covered with bird droppings.

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Cool Copepods

Cool Copepods

Microscopic Crustaceans

Microscopic Crustaceans

We saw smoke from a fire in the distance. And a Black-crowned Night-Heron startled us with his cry.

In the microscope, Aaron found lots of wormlike nematodes plus a microscopic crustacean we identified as a copepod (‘fish lice’), thanks to the handy guides on the wall there.

Dinner was another one of Mike’s amazing recipes; a tofu rice dish that is especially delicious – No nematodes or copepods, but pineapple, roasted cashews, home-grown cilantro, chopped galangal root.., oh, and scallions – just the ends of them, chopped.

nature studies at Mike’s


There are two (live) red-wing blackbird babies in the mailbox, and a couple more in a nest by the little pond. I’m sure there are many more nests in the grasses, but these are the ones that I saw.

We found a painted box turtle in the field. It is a male, Mike said, and he carried it to the little pond, where there are others.

There is a pick-your-own strawberry farm very close by. It has the best strawberries.

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